It’s all about Eva

Sarah jane Buckley - The Eva cassidy Stopry
Sarah jane Buckley - The Eva cassidy Stopry
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She’s been crazy Kathy Barnes in the hit Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks and a bit of a tart on tour in a raunchy comedy.

She has been The Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and as half of the cabaret duo The Polka Dots.

But all rounder Sarah Jane Buckley (pictured right) reckons her current role – starring in Over The Rainbow: The Eva Cassidy Story (which is at Blackpool Grand Theatre tomorrow) is as touch as anything he has tackled.

“Of course I was a fan but I didn’t realise how wide her range her was – or how difficult it would be to do her justice,” said Sarah Jane. “She sang everything from blues to jazz and from pop to middle of the road.”

Eva’s is a poignant story. Barely known outside her native Washington she died at 33 only to be “discovered” by UK DJ Terry Wogan four years later.

Her interpretation of Somewhere Over The Rainbow topped the charts and she has gone on to sell millions of records posthumously

“A lot of singers go undiscovered for a long time but it was just such a shame that in this case she actually died before becoming famous,” said Sarah Jane. “So the show is more about her early relationships.

“ But she wasn’t a character like Judy Garland – it’s about her love life and her music.”

In addition to acting, performing and presenting she also finds time to run TV workshop for aspiring actors and admits that being versatile has helped keep her in work.

“I’d love to do some live TV presenting because I like talking but there’s not much I can’t turn my hand to,” she says. “My family were all in the hotel trade so I’m used to hard work.

“I was actually back behind the bar helping out last week on my days off. And once you’ve done cabaret on the club circuit there’s not a lot is going to scare you!”

As for the workshops her advice to youngsters is: “Don’t do it unless you are prepared to be poor. It’s not going to be easy.

“ Going from job to job is rare. But the irony is that the fewer jobs there are out there, the more people are trying to get into the business.

“If you haven’t got the drive and ambition then you might as well give up.

“I’ve been fortunate but it’s meant using the hard work that I’ve grown up to my advantage.

“Auditions never, ever get easier but the plus side is that when you get the job you really relish it.

“There’s nothing better than hearing an audience respond to your performance and with this show we have been getting standing ovations. That’s something you can’t beat.

“It makes it all worthwhile – especially when you are playing one of the biggest leading lady roles there is.”

Having last been in Blackpool at the Grand in The Tart and the Vicar’s Wife she’s glad to be back again and looking forward to Over The Rainbow fellow cast member Maureen Nolan showing her around.

“She’s so lovely to work with but I hope she’s going to lead me story whilst I am here.” said Sarah Jane.

And after this tour ends in a week or so it’s off to pantomime in Malvern playing Mrs Darling in Peter Pan.

“Panto is something else I love doing,” she says. “I consider myself very lucky.”